A family saga
This beautiful story starts in the hell of the Lebanese civil war. At the end of the 80s, the Cedar Country was a battleground for different factions supported by foreign forces. A large part of Lebanon was occupied by the Syrian army, making access almost impossible to certain areas.
Two sisters, Leila Maalouf and Youmna Goraïeb decided to help the inhabitants of Aïn el Abou (which means the source or the reserve in arabic). The Academician Amin Maalouf originates from this village located in the mountain of Sannine, home of the purest water source. Terraced crops there offer an incredible variety of sun-kissed fruits and vegetables.
The inhabitants of Ain el Abou, unable to go to the city to find work, were in a difficult economic situation. Leila and Youmna came up with the idea of launching a home-made production of “Mouné”, a word that means “preserves”.
Their preserves are made using an ancestral know-how passed from mother to daughter by the women of the village; seasonal products, picked at maturity, are packaged in such a way that they can be eaten throughout the winter.
Jams, syrups, flowers essence, molasses of pomegranate, the famous “Zaatar”, a mixture of thyme, sumac and sesame seeds, have became since the great Chefs must-have!
During the first years, jars and bottles were labeled and tied by hand. Today, the family house has been equipped with an annex in which the production is carried out using state-of-the-art equipment and meeting very high standards of strict hygiene. The method remains crafty however. The jams are still made in small tanks so as not to alter the quality, color and taste of the fruit.
Yet from the outside, no trace of laboratory or workshop. The site has been laid out to only show the family home, the terraced fields and in the distance, the sea beyond the valley.
Today the second generation has taken over; Amine, Youmna’s son and his cousin Randa, Leila’s daughter, are walking in the footsteps of their mothers. Driven by ecological values, they continue to ensure the development of natural products according to the ancient Lebanese tradition. Products are without additives, food coloring or chemical preservatives.
Some key products of Mymouné:
Pomegranate molasses: made according to the traditional art, with pure pomegranate juice reduced over low heat and without any added sugar!
How to use it : Usually seasoning meat, including “lahm be’aajin” or meat pizza. Molasses is also a wonderful substitute for balsamic vinegar in salads. And for an original and surprising use: a small trickle of molasses on a vanilla ice cream!
Zaatar: the word “zaatar” means “thyme”. The Lebanese version of Zaatar contains no spices or chickpeas unlike Syrian or Jordanian blends. The Lebanese Zaatar favors the pure taste of wild thyme enhanced by a hint of acidity thanks to the sumac.
Instructions: In a bowl mix Zaatar and olive oil. Spread on a slice of bread. It can be accompanied by tomatoes and a fresh mint leaves. Excellent for a gourmet detox breakfast!
You can also make your own zaatar mini-croissants: roll out the puff pastry in 16 parts, spread the triangles and roll them in the shape of croissants with a spoon of zaatar inside. Bake for 10 minutes in a heated oven at 210 ° C.
Finally, a simple sprinkle of zaatar in a salad, or in guacamole will add earthy notes to a creative accompaniment.
Orange blossom water: the first production was made thanks to an alambic dating from the beginning of the 20th century and found in the reserve of the family home. Today, orange blossom water is distilled in the laboratory. MYMOUNÉ uses orange flower buds of the highest quality, usually reserved for jams. The outer petals are the ones that contain the most aromas. The flowers are picked in the south of Lebanon at dawn, before the sun warms them, risking the loss of fragrance. Then they are rushed to the mountain where they are immediately spread out to breathe. It is a race against the clock to preserve their precious aromas!
How to use it : This is the basis of the Lebanese “white coffee”, put a spoonful of orange blossom water in a coffee cup and add warm water. An excellent digestion and a good sleep guaranteed! We can also add orange flower water in rice pudding, cakes, smoothies, fruit salads … And even put it on the face to soothe the skin!
Translation : Nadine